In The Wilderness

Wilderness – an uncultivated, uninhabited and inhospitable
region of wastes, bush, or wild area. A ‘no man’s land’ where it is difficult
to survive.  A wild and uncultivated
region – a waste land. A place where one goes or is placed due to
Joseph’s brothers
threw him into a pit in the wilderness when he was a young boy.  Imagine the thoughts of the young boy of 17
as he sat in the pit with no water.  For
how long was he in the pit?  The Bible
does not say.  Joseph heard the Midianite
traders as they approached, strangers, who lifted him out of the pit.  They sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty
shekels of silver and Joseph was taken to the land of Egypt, a strange place.
And the separation from his father grew in years from the pit to the second in
command of Egypt.  Did he forget Yahweh
during that time?  He was faithful and
Yahweh had plans for Joseph in this strange wilderness. 
I wonder in awe
at Joseph’s faithfulness to the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob was so
strong that even when he was away from them, Joseph continued to obey and
follow the LORD of Hosts through out the time in prison in Egypt.  His faith and trust in God can only be
described as exemplary.  Separated from
his family, he continued to believe and trust God.  In today’s world, at that age, the ‘freedom’
from parental restrictions and beliefs are expressed with rebellion against
their teachings.  Their choices often
lead to a ‘wilderness’ of their choosing – drugs, the ‘bad boy’ syndrome and
companions who are less than desirable.
The fear of the
unknown is a ‘wilderness’ all its own.  Somehow
we want to be in control of our lives and the times when suddenly we cannot
count on life being the way it has always been, we are shaken at the reality of
change.  It can be a separation, a
catastrophic loss – a fire – an earthquake – a job – a death of a loved one.  We are plunged into the depths of a deep pit
without any sustenance or resources.
Why?  A series of questions follow.  What did I do?  What didn’t I do? After awhile, the direction
of the questions change focus – God why did you allow this to happen?  King David wrote
My God, my God, why have
you forsaken me?
Why are
you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find
no rest.
  Psalm 22:1-3
The WHY word seems to be emblazoned not only
on our heart, but across the vast sky that is filled with darkness.  There is no answer.  A cold chill travels down my spine.  Suddenly, without volition, I begin praying
to the God who seems not to answer, there is no other resource in this ‘wilderness’
of fear and doubt.
Maybe God isn’t
really there?  Satan begins to whisper
the same words as Elijah when the followers of Baal tried to raise their God to
send fire down on the altar.  Maybe he is asleep, or he is musing, or on a
… (I Kings 18:26-28)  Being
‘in the wilderness’ is more difficult when you don’t know you are in one.
How do you know
you are ‘in a wilderness’?  When you feel
you have lost control and when you feel you have been separated from God.  For those who have already denied the
existence of God, you will have no notice of the Wilderness Experience.  The Wilderness experience is for believers in
Feeling alone in
a dark pit is a sure understanding of being ‘in the wilderness’.  It is a time when there is no joy or peace –
just unrest.  The fear that is felt at
that time is paralyzing. It is a time when a Christian doubts his or her faith
in God.  This is when one cuts ties with
close friends and relatives, and retreats. 
The dark Pit seems to shelter one for a time, but the echoing emptiness
of life makes one reach out to others.
So what do we do
when we are in the depths of a personal Wilderness?  Reach Out! 
First, reach out to God and then to God’s Followers.  Believe! 
Trust!  Pray! 
April 2012, began
my Wilderness Experience, with the diagnosis of my husband’s Dementia.  The doctor ushered me in a small room, too
small for the words that were to come.  “Your
husband has Lewy Body Dementia and there is no cure.  He will only grow worse.”  When the words stopped bouncing around the
room, I smiled calmly and said, “Thank you.” 
I found my husband and walked into the bright sunshine.  I didn’t know why the sun was shining.  The world was the same as before I heard the
doctor’s words.
Then came
decisions and preparations for what was to come.  I knew that we would need family.  We made the decision together, although my
husband cannot remember it now.  We would
move to Illinois to be with our 3rd son.  All of our four children, from four states,
came to help us prepare to sell our home of 38 years, pack and move.  As we drove away from our home, I did not
look back.
In preparing for
the move and cutting ties, I found the peace of God.  He was with me every step.  There was not a silent time.  There were too many blessings to count.  The prayer partners continue to pray after
three years for us.  One of our three
sons died – another wilderness, and yet God sustains us. 
In June 2014, I
began searching for scriptures to post on Facebook…and they led to writing
daily journal-snippets of what these verses mean to me.  In our new church home, I found friends,
Bible Study partners and another way of living in a place that was new.  God gave us our son and daughter-in-law, with
servant-hearts, who prepared a place for living and faithfully make life
easier.  Even the selection of doctors
has been of God. 
It continues in
2015, and like most Wilderness experiences, I can see no end. As the Dementia
erodes my husband’s memories, God continues to increase my faith as I trust Him
for each step we take.  My heart is
filled with thanksgiving and His Joy and Peace.

The sun comes upIt’s a new day dawningIt’s time to sing Your song again – Whatever may passAnd whatever lies before meLet me be singing – When the evening comes – Bless
the Lord oh my soul (Matt Redman) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXDGE_lRI0E

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